When he was not working in the bank, Paul Gauguin would draw and paint and get to know the artists who hung out in the cafés near his house. He became great friends with an artist called Camille Pissarro who taught him all about impressionism. Impressionism is a style of art which artists in France beagn to use in the late 19th century to paint landscapes and café interiors and people. They used quick brush strokes and dabs of colour to capture the fleeting impression of scenes.
When Gauguin decided that he wanted to devote his life to painting he set off on his travels. He was interested in places which were quiet and still had old traditions. He did not like modern cities. He first went to a countryside area of France called Brittany (where many other artists were living and painting). He then went much further...to Polynesia!
The unfinished painting above was made in Tahiti in 1891 during Paul Gauguin's first trip to the island. He was so enchanted with the place that he returned a couple of years later and stayed there until 1903.
His paintings of Tahiti became famous after he died, because of their bold, exotic colours, and the feeling of calm. Unlike in Europe, where the countryside was being dug up to create cities and roads, Gauguin's paintings were about people and nature in harmony, showing a simpler life.
What do think of Gauguin's paintings? Have you ever been to or drawn an exotic place? How are the colours and shapes different in a rainforest compared to the colours in a city?